Friday, April 25, 2014

Thyroid and Prostate Cancer

Your Thyroid is a small gland found
partially wrapping your neck just below what is often called the Adam’s apple. Through a very complex process, involving the entire Thyroid System (including pituitary gland and liver), it controls how your body uses energy, makes proteins, and how your body reacts to other hormones. It influences your metabolism, growth, development, and body temperature. When your thyroid becomes sick, injured, or inflamed it either makes excessive thyroid hormone, called Hyperthyroidism, or it may restrict its production of thyroid hormone, called Hypothyroidism. Then too, because of lack of necessary trace elements or nutrients in your body, the thyroid hormones may not even be used effectively which exacerbates the situation. A struggling thyroid often goes through both stages of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism before becoming too damaged to continue. At this point you are left with the sad reality of needing to take marginally effective and problematic thyroid supplements for the rest of your life. How do you know your thyroid is struggling? You may experience symptoms such as fatigue or racing heart, unexplained weight changes, unexplained muscle and joint pains, swelling in your neck, hair loss (especially eyebrows) and skin changes, extended constipation or diarrhea, menstrual abnormalities, depression, carpal tunnel, difficulty with sleep, increased cholesterol, feelings of cold or hot extremities, and more. In other words, if your thyroid isn’t working properly, you’ll feel lousy and may not be able to function on a daily basis.

So what does a sick thyroid system have to do with prostate cancer? Ask yourself this simple question. If your entire body isn’t functioning properly because of your thyroid, how do you expect it to ward off cancer, or heal itself? Many have seen a connection between a poorly functioning thyroid and prostate cancer. A 2009 study looking at 29,691 people found that those with Hyperthyroidism did in fact have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Before you take an easy breath with your Hypothyroidism, just remember you most likely went through Hyperthyroidism getting to Hypo- today.

Then there are the causal links between a malfunctioning thyroid and prostate. In order for the thyroid to do its job it needs adequate supplies of Iodine, Selenium, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamins D, C, B-12, and E. We have already discussed the importance of Vitamin D regarding prostate cancer. Next let’s consider iodine. One report lists iodine deficiency in the US at over 11% of our population, while recent comments suggest it may be as high as 74%. Anyway you look at it, that’s a lot of people. Many also believe due to competing uptakes of bromine, perchlorate, fluoride and chlorine that the iodine we are consuming can’t be used effectively. This lack of effective iodine not only damages the thyroid, it weakens our entire immune system allowing invading organisms and cancers to take hold. There are many correlations between iodine deficiency and cancer. Magnesium is also vital to our body’s health. Over 300 enzymes and ion transport require magnesium. Magnesium’s role in fatty acid and phospholipids acid metabolism also affects permeability and stability of membranes. Without proper magnesium our cells decline, thus opening the door for cancer. It has been shown that high levels of magnesium actually inhibit cancer. Sad to note about 57% of the US population doesn’t even meet the US RDA for dietary magnesium. On the other hand an over abundance of supplemental Selenium and Vitamin-E may promote prostate cancer, while ‘too much’ as well as ‘too little’ iodine will be detrimental to the thyroid. That’s why it is so important to get your levels checked before any supplementation, and to watch your levels of supplementation together with a professional medical provider you can trust.

In addition to these connections between your thyroid and prostate cancer, there’s one more important consideration. There are many foods and supplements thought to be very healthy in fighting prostate cancer that may aggravate your thyroid. Difficult foods for your thyroid include soy, corn, flax, lima beans, sweet potato, Quercetin, and all cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower and kale). Ouch! Why is it that the very things we often believe will cure us, has side effects possible causing harm in other areas? Though the list is long, there are important cooking considerations that may mitigate many of these thyroid problem foods. In addition to this list, you can add any foods causing you an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions arising from a ‘Leaky Gut' have also been attributed to thyroid malfunction as well as generalized silent inflammation throughout the body and a contributing factor to prostate cancer. It has been said that as much as 50% of thyroid autoimmune problems are caused by food allergies. Finally get your Omega-6 consumption under control as it affects both thyroid and prostate. (More about this coming soon.)

With all this said, if you have concerns or thyroid symptoms it may be time to get it checked. If you are dealing with prostate cancer, whether you are in treatment or not, I feel it important to obtain a full thyroid panel to assure it’s working at optimal efficiency. At the very least you will then know what steps to take, and most of those steps will help your prostate. Start by having your levels of Iodine, Selenium, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamins D, C, B-12, and E checked. At the same time get your TSH, Free T3, Free T4, antibody protein antithyroglobulin (AB Test), and thyroid antibody TPO (TPO) tested. Add to this list any other tests your doctor recommends. These will give you a good start to evaluate your thyroid and overall health.

Is there a link between thyroid problems and prostate cancer? It sure appears to me one exists. My recent TSH came in at 3.02, with a Free T3 at 2.2, and a Free T4 at 1.15. This puts me in a sub-clinical hypothyroid level confirmed with multiple symptoms. I’m waiting on results of additional tests, though I already know a few years ago prior to the diagnosis of prostate cancer I was living the American dream diet and deficient in iodine, magnesium, selenium, zinc, vitamin D, E and B-12. I was also experiencing increasing food allergies. My next step in this process is to heal my thyroid to the greatest extent possible. I will be looking at balancing my nutritional intakes, maximizing the effectiveness of my liver, and healing my gut. Only after I have attempted a natural route will I consider synthetic T3 or T4, or a more natural T3/T4 treatment such as desiccated thyroid. Once going down that path there is little turning back. For those interested in finding out more about thyroid treatment you may want to browse the website, Stop The Thyroid Madness  or contact Dr Adiel Tel-Oren at Ecopolitan with questions.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vitamin D3 Healing Prostate Cancer

             You see Vitamin D everywhere. It’s in multivitamins and sold on grocery shelves, added to milk, discussed on talk shows. If you’ve Prostate Cancer, there are some important facts you should know about Vitamin D. First - even the staunchest supporters of our medical system will agree certain levels are needed for a body to function at optimal health. Second - most men over 50, and especially those with Prostate Cancer, are deficient in Vitamin D. Third - most medical researchers will agree that Vitamin D appears to decrease the risk of death from cancer, and that higher levels of Vitamin D may be linked to lower cancer risk. So what is it, and what does it do? Vitamin D is a group of ‘fat soluble’ secosteroids (This means it’s best taken with a large meal that includes fat!). It’s said that D3 is the most important part of Vitamin D, and the less problematic. Most all agree Vitamin D is responsible for the regulation of calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, boron, and zinc. 
             Many understand its more complex nature, and believe it guides healthy DNA replication, cellular division and is responsible for producing over 200 anti-microbial peptides, thereby reducing cellular mutation, fighting infections and reducing silent inflammation. Since cancer is believed to be caused by mutations in genes that regulate cellular proliferation, and Vitamin D protects against cancer by affecting over 200 genes to regulate important aspects of cellular proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis, you can see the importance of Vitamin D. If fact studies have shown that those deficient in Vitamin D stand a 30% to 50% increased rate of Prostate Cancer. 
             In one study supplementing with D3 to raise Vitamin D blood level saturation above 50 ng/ml cut in half the risk of developing certain cancers, MS, and diabetes.  Vitamin D has been used for many health issues including preventing and treating: rickets, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, skin conditions, PMS, autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammation, autism, cancers, and more.
            The human body is an amazing machine. We obviously need Vitamin D to survive, so the body makes its own Vitamin D with exposure to sunlight. It’s said just 6 days of quality sunlight exposure will make up for 49 cloudy days for a ‘healthy young body’ producing Vitamin D. When we’re young, and living in a sunny climate, our skin exposed to sun generally makes all the Vitamin D we need. As we get older we loose many of the skin receptors necessary to make Vitamin D. We also spend less time in the sun because of work and health issues. Many of us live in climates that don’t provide the necessary sunshine. With that said, if you have Prostate Cancer you have a 60% to 70% chance of having inadequate, low levels of Vitamin D.
            So what does it all mean for Prostate Cancer? Recent studies have shown the importance of Vitamin D. In a 2012 study supplementation with 4,000iu of D3 per day for one year resulted in a reduction of positive cores upon a repeat biopsy. While the exact mechanism may not be understood the results suggest that the cancer load has been reduced due to the Vitamin D. In a 2011 study it was found that D3 and testosterone work together to have a positive affect on cell proliferation, cell death, and cell motility, thereby affecting prostate cancer progression and therapeutic outcomes. This study suggests that supplementation with D3 may slow or halt the progression of Prostate Cancer
A laboratory study found that supplementation with D3 may suppress Circulating Prostate Cancer Cell’s ability to adhere and metastasize. If you are on the watch and wait program, this certainly could help you sleep better at night. In another laboratory study it was found that Vitamin D Deficiency stimulates Prostate Cancer growth in bone, whereas more Vitamin D retards its growth. 
            With supplements of Vitamin D3 so easily available, then why is it so many are deficient in Vitamin D. Possibly because our standard medical profession is great at fixing broken bones, and patching obvious medical issues but when it comes to nutrition, and sustainable health, they are sorely lacking. How many times has you doctor suggested you get a Vitamin D check? It obviously should be a primary test if you are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Now knowing the importance of Vitamin D, you may decide to start supplementation on your own, but here’s the rub. Too much Vitamin D can be Toxic, and there are optimal blood saturation levels to support you cancer healing. Vitamin D overdose can show up as a buildup of calcium in your blood causing loss of appetite, even nausea and vomiting. It can also show up as weakness, frequent urination, and kidney problems. This is why it’s 'so important' to get your doctor involved, get tested, and monitor your Vitamin D on a regular basis.
            Start with a doctor ordered 25(OH)D Test (also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D test), it’s more accurate than the 1,25(OH)D test. My original test came back at 32.7 ng/ml, which is considered insufficient… and here I’m dealing with Prostate Cancer.  The Vitamin D council has set the following ranges for test results: 0-30 ng/ml = Deficient, 31-39 ng/ml = Insufficient, 40-80 ng/ml = Sufficient, and over 150 = Toxic. The Endocrine Society and the Food and Nutrition Board have lower guidelines while most testing laboratories generally consider 32-100 ng/ml to be in an acceptable range. With baseline test in hand, discuss with your doctor the best amount of D3 supplementation to reach your target goal. Because of my Prostate Cancer we set my target at 70-80ng/ml. I started taking 10,000iu of a high quality D3 per day. (Note: D3 may also be included in other supplements such as fish oil and multivitamins. Be sure to account for all your different sources. Also adjust according to how much time you’re spending soaking up sunshine.) After approximately 2 months my Vitamin D serum level had risen to 53.4 ng/ml. It’s an acceptable level and healthy change, but not yet where I need to be. I reduced my D3 intake to 8,000iu per day and will have it checked again concurrent with my PSA test next month. Thereafter I’ll go on a maintenance dose, probably around 4,000iu to 6,000iu per day with regular tests. Many believe that 4,000iu is the maximum acceptable D3 supplementation without doctor supervision. I believe it’s important to get tested.
            Vitamin D is just one more piece of the healing puzzle for Prostate Cancer. Most likely there will not be a magic pill that completely handles the situation, but with all the healing pieces put together there’s tremendous power; and I have to believe I’m a whole lot healthier than when I first stared this journey.    

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ONCOblot vs Biopsy - A Safer Test

Over 248,000 New Cases of Prostate Cancer will be diagnosed just in the USA this year. Ouch! Overall, as an American male, you stand a 1 in 6 chance of getting prostate cancer in your lifetime. Not happy odds. The standard medical process for diagnosing prostate cancer is through a digital rectal exam and PSA test. Unfortunately neither of these is accurate, but up until now they’re that's available. The problem with the PSA test is that many things throw it off. Riding a motorcycle - even a bicycle, having prostatitis or anther infection, even making love to your wife to soon before the test may cause results to skyrocket. When PSA climbs, the first words out of your doctor’s mouth will probably be, “We need a biopsy to check for cancer”.

There are around One Million prostate cancer biopsies performed each year in the USA. Many of these, as much as 75%, will be negative for cancer. The process is reasonably, to minimally painful. It is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. What doctors don’t often tell you is that cancer cells can be missed even when the biopsy is guided with trans-rectal ultrasound; that up to 4% of men who have a biopsy need hospitalization for infections that are resistant to antibiotics; and even a single biopsy may over time spread cancer outside the prostate, increasing the need for more drastic treatment. As one senior oncologist put it, the biopsy process creates wounds in the prostate. These are along the paths where needles are inserted to obtain tissues for testing. To heal that wound the body brings in growth hormone causing cells to grow faster. Prostate cancer loves growth hormone and when a biopsy needle punctures a cancer cluster, the cancer cells will grow out along the path of the wound (like little pacmen gobbling the growth hormone) until they eventually escape from the prostate. The cancer then starts circulating within the body looking for another place to attach and grow.

While a prostate biopsy does define the presence and severity of any cancer it finds and may never be completely eliminated, the issue becomes what of the approximate 75% of men where cancer is not found. Are these 750,000 biopsies putting men to unnecessary risk? What about the prostate cancers the biopsy needles miss? Are these men missing a chance to take early steps that might help their bodies to fend off an initial cancer attack, or be more easily cured? Fortunately there are a few new tests promising better reliability, and a safer process. Unfortunately some of these are so new that they are not yet covered by insurance. They include the ONCOblot Test looking for the ENOX2 protein, the MiPS Test looking for a specific gene fusion in urine to define the probability of prostate cancer, and better MRI/ultrasound imaging. Just click on these links, or go Prostate Screening Tests at the top of this page to find out more.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hyperthermia for Cancer Treatment

            Hyperthermia treatment for many forms of cancer has been around for a very long time. Most consider the treatment safe with no known major complications. Of course we are all different and any medical treatment can have some issues. Always check for these with your medical provider prior to treatment, and review their hold-harmless clauses. Hyperthermia is used in varying procedures around the world. In the USA all medical procedures are tightly regulated, and only certain forms of hyperthermia treatment are approved regardless of results. The most common use of hyperthermia in the USA is as a supplemental treatment to increase the effectiveness of radiation or chemotherapy. There are generally three categories of hyperthermia treatment that include localized, regional and whole body. The goal of each of these treatments is to raise the cancerous tissue to a temperature above 107º F for an extended period of time. According to studies temperatures between 104º F and approximately 111º F are cytotoxic for cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells unchanged. Pending on type of treatment and treating facility, higher temperatures may be applied. While hyperthermia treatment in the US is used sparingly with limited results, doctors in Europe using more refined procedures are having much greater success.

            Initially I was intrigued with this treatment by a hyperthermia article over the internet. I then began an extensive research into the process and interviewed previous prostate cancer patients in the USA and around the world. Based on this information, I decided in April of 2013 to travel to Germany for Hyperthermia treatment for my prostate cancer. The official terminology for this treatment is Transurethral Hyperthermia. It has been nearly a year since the treatment, and while I have not seen the dramatic improvement other patients experienced, I believe my prostate cancer is marginally better. It definitely has not gotten any worse. My article in this Blog is a complete recount of the treatment at Klinik St Georg in Bad Aidling, Germany, along with results, comments and suggestions. It’s a bit long, but it covers a year of treatment and follow-up. Should you be looking for alternative treatments for your prostate cancer, I would urge you to read the complete article on my Transurethral Hyprethermia, located by clicking the ‘Noteworthy Special Cancer Treatments’ tab at the top of this page.

            After reading my post, I would appreciate the comments of anyone else who has experienced Transurethral Hyperthermia along with the short and long term results they received from the process. In the USA alone this year there will be over 248,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed. It’s time we started talking about prostate cancer more, and giving it the attention it deserves. Our lives, and the quality of life for our loved ones, depends on it.